Ten Things from the Weekend
1.) I got to see this past summer's first overall pick play live in Edmonton on Saturday night. Skinny kid with a youthful face and serious game. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins grew up in the suburbs of a major hockey metropolis, left home to play Junior hockey on the Canadian prairies, and is stepping right into the lineup to help. Sound like anyone we all know who debuted back in late 80s?
2.) I know it's early but the 'Whoa is Dallas' talk regarding the loss of Brad Richards seems to has faded, and been replaced by 'What a fine signing Sheldon Souray has been' chatter, amongst other pretty positive things.
3.) The new Stars opening music video played on those fabulous HD boards at American Airlines Center Is-The-Balls, in my opinion.
4.) My trip to Rexall Place in Edmonton for HNIC was the first time I've been in that building to see, or play, in a game that wasn't Stars-Oilers since 1991 when I was in net with the Whalers.
5.) Number one reminisce from hockey people who have been around since the days of Reunion Arena - "that Stars Club tent". Makes me wonder whether finding a way to recapture that 'magic' shouldn't be near the top of the list when new ownership gets in place and marketing ideas are being thrown against the fridge door. (That last part is how I was taught to test the readiness of spaghetti, FYI)
6.) What to make of the division leaders around NHL? Goaltending is a real important position? Stars -Lehtonen, Avalanche - Varlamov, Toronto - Reimer, Pittsburgh - Fleury, Detroit - Howard, Washington - Vokoun
7.) Was witness to my second "Premature Hat-ulation". Hats flew - during play - when they announced RNH hat trick at Rexall. I don't think I've ever seen that but it spoke to how passionate they are there, and how messy the goal was. (Truth be told it should have been Taylor Hall's goal but why screw up a fairy tale night?)
8.) The Arron Asham 'Nighty Night' celebration after knocking Jay Beagle out in a fight got a lot of debate airtime. He was contrite right after, saying it was 'classless'. Other sport equivalents: How about standing at home plate admiring a long homer followed by the ultra slow trot? Or the grave digger and machine gun sack dances? (You can probably throw that overused first down made indicator gesture too) And of course all those tribal screams into the camera after a posterizing dunk.
9.) First coaches to go semi-bat sh@#t over their team's early play: Claude "This is not a free year" Noel in Winnipeg, Brent "We only have two star players" Sutter in Calgary, and Scott "You won't give me 60 minutes at night, well I'll give you 60 minutes of pain today" Arniel in Columbus. Are there no mad coaches in the East?
10.) Nice to see the players gave the Shan-A-Banish video studio had the weekend off